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CRB checks

Comment 17th August 2010

If you want to axe an absurdly bureaucratic systerm, read on…

I would like to see a rational, radical reform of the CRB system.  As a teacher I have filled out more CRB forms than I care to count, most of which have contained identical information. I say “most” because I have just received a new form from a teaching agency I have just signed up with, which demands even more intrusive personal data.

 I have lived at the same address for almost 14 years, never changed my name, never been in trouble with the police, held a valid and unblemished UK driving licence and a UK passport for over 40 years… and every time I fill out one of these forms I become more disillusioned with our society. Once upon a time it was enough to say who you were: whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty”?

 This system was I believe introduced as a result of “Soham”. Perhaps it has prevented repeats, or perhaps we have been lucky.

 Why is it that a CRB clearance issued to one organization is not valid for another? I have had concurrent CRBs for Hants CC, Surrey CC, the Scouts, various teacher supply agencies, etc.: I could paper my walls with them.  And yet if I had stayed with the same employer all my teaching life I would presumably have one at most. Would that have made me a better person or proved my lack of criminal habits?

 If we must have this obnoxious system, surely it is possible to create a central database which all bona fide organizations could interrogate? Once I am on the system, surely any changes to my behaviour or status can be recorded and checked – which I gather they are every time I fill out another form?

 At a time when you are busy cutting all the posts and programmes you can lay your hands on, surely this one is ripe for surgery? Or is it inviolate because it is actually a source of revenue?

 Do all those people who spend their time typing my information onto the database actually make money for the government?

Could they be doing something useful?

Why does this matter?

Because I believe this and the even more odious ISA turn people like me off!

If you want a BIG SOCIETY, how about starting to trust people again?

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